Grosjean takes Petrov’s place alongside Raikkonen

2012 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean, Renault, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Romain Grosjean will return to F1 in 2012 as Kimi Raikkonen’s team mate.

The pair will drive for Renault, who are set to become Lotus next year.

The announcement leaves Vitaly Petrov, who signed a two-year contract with the team 12 months ago, without a drive.

Grosjean spent seven races with Renault in 2009, partnering Fernando Alonso. But he was not retained for 2010 and eventually returned to GP2. He won the feeder series championship this year driving for DAMS.

Grosjean said: “There’s a big grin on my face at the prospect of getting behind the wheel of next year’s car, and I feel very privileged to be given this opportunity.

“To be racing alongside a former world champion and someone who is hungry and returning to Formula 1 will be a great experience, and I’m sure will help raise my level of performance too.

“I feel that my successful season in GP2 has helped me mature a lot, and I am a much more complete driver than I was last time I was competing in this sport.

“Returning to Enstone as a race driver feels like coming home. I will not disappoint and I wish to thank all the people without whom this return to F1 would not have been possible. Total, [who have supported] me since 2006, and Gravity Sport Management, are first on this list.”

Team principal Eric Boullier said: “I’m delighted that Romain Grosjean will side [with] Kimi next year.

“Romain has shown a lot of maturity in the past twelve months both through his GP2 Series victory and his development as third driver with us. We were impressed when he drove for us in the first practice sessions in Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

“We are confident that drafting him in to one of our driver’s seats will help us in our rebuilding process. I would like to thank Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna for their contribution to the team’s performance this year and I wish them all the best for the future.”

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Image © Renault/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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237 comments on “Grosjean takes Petrov’s place alongside Raikkonen”

  1. Am surprised at this – as I thought Petrov had done well this year.

    Pleased for Grosjean though – this says it all

    1. I agree. I didn’t see this happening, am pleased for RoGro, and bummed for Petrov and Senna.

      Can’t wait to see what this driver pairing can do next year. I hope the team can recover from the exhaust debacle and all the loss of personnel, to give these guys a competitive car.

      1. I’m bummed for Senna. He really didn’t get enough time in the car to really prove himself. I would have loved to see a Kimi – Bruno pairing.

    2. Another silly and rushed decision by renault.. They haven’t learned anything from Heidfield/Senna swap. Just wondering who’s gonna take Gosjeans place after first few rounds in 2012..

      1. What? Replacing an unspectacular meh of a driver (Petrov) with a driver thats been consistantly winning races and 2 titles, including the feeder series since his been out of the car.

        Seems like an eminently sensible choice to me. Raikkonen is the risk Grosjean is obvious.

        1. Oh yes how unspectacular his podium place in Australia was.

          1. So? Heidfeld got a podium in Malaysia, what does that prove?

          2. It proves that Nick was quick too. Given a good car they both got the job done.

      2. gro will be replaced with kubica, they hope so.

        1. A good flavor of pop tart then, as Kubica is the man!

    3. done well? hahaha, when? where? who? :)
      petrov, heidfeld and senna were all miserable.

    4. Tom M in Australia
      9th December 2011, 10:44

      this says it all

      “Oh shut up!”

      1. there we have, the best pass(es) of the year :)

        1. pffff. The 2011 GP2 grid was full of numpties. Grosjean was simply the best of a bad bunch just like Maldonado was. That pass could never happen in F1.

          You only have to watch the 2011 Monaco GP2 qualifying to see this is true. clowns.

          1. LOL
            Hadn’t seen that actually, that was good entertainment

          2. Wow. What a bunch of amateurs, especially Grosean

          3. That is hilarious. Like children in go karts. Lost children.

          4. That was really funny untill grosjean almost killed his team m8.

          5. I don’t think Grosjean should have been given another crack, personally. Kimi’s gonna take that guy to school. I honestly think sticking with Petrov would have been the better choice (but still not that good a choice). The verdict is still out on Senna, IMO. Hopefully Kubica recovers as soon as possible & takes his rightful place. Maldonado’s another one who doesn’t have the chops for F1 either. Hulk should be in that Williams.

          6. OMG! Those GP2 2011 Monaco qualifying highlights are unbelievable! Grosjean’s team mate was very very lucky there. What a bunch of numpties!!

    5. this says it all

      Typical GP2 drivers, do they not realise that exciting racing requires them to only make one, and only one, move?

      Who the hell wants to see drivers defending and attacking by moving their cars on the race track?

      GP2 is just barbaric, why they don’t even give a gentlemanly advantage to the attacking car I’ll never know. Hell, they even have the all drivers driving the same machinery!

      What rightminded motorsports enthusiast wants to see a level playing field, honestly? I just don’t get it.

      1. Graham228221, I respect your opinion but I don’t see your point. The above youtube video looked like exciting racing to me.
        Ref this is considered a classic F1 fight for the lead.
        But we’ll never see it again with the way the rules are heading. Pitty

        1. *sarcasm

        2. @Grammo I think @graham228221 was being sarcastic.

          1. :) I’ll put my foot back in my mouth

        3. Ref this is considered a classic F1 fight for the lead.

          That would be at least 10 drive through penalties in today’s F1. :-(

        4. Pretty sure the fight was for 2nd place, but your point is taken.

    6. I wouldn’t have bet on him getting the seat – but I’m happy he has!

  2. I would guess that Petrov and Senna´s sponsors money will go as well… bye bye to both of them…

    1. Surely that puts both of them in the running at Williams though with their sponsor money.

      1. some teams are hungry with Petrov’s $15 million.

        1. other lotus? to replace jarno perhaps?

        2. I think Williams would have been smarter to take Petrov over Maldonado. Pastor has money, yes, but Vitaly also has that plus he knows how to drive an F1 car. Vitaly and Rubens = money, pace, and experience. Perfect team-building lineup in my opinion.

          1. I really think that is the plan. Williams don’t want to show the shareholders that they are worried that the PDVSA money will be denied by the Venuzuelan gov. So they publicly confirm Maldonado while secretly signing Petrov as his replacement for anouncement when the news hits of the PDVSA exit.

          2. If Di Resta and Hulkenburg get the Force India seats then Sutil is a much better option for Williams if Maldonado stays.

            And Petrov and Barrichello didn’t exactly do a great job of developing their current cars this year did they? Petrov and Maldonado are pretty much interchangeable in what they bring to the team in my opinion. They have backing from sponsors but are both pretty average F1 drivers.

          3. @The-Last-Pope Oh, I so hope you’re right…

            (Sorry for the late reply!)

    2. I think Senna might return to a test driver role at Renault.

    3. Not only will their sponsor money go but i would think… they must have to pay petrov off because he was contracted for another year. Unless renault was able to terminate the contract for his “outburst”.

  3. Big news to wake up to! Good on Grosjean.

    And all this after waking up from the most bizarre dream where Keith was handing out F1 Fanatic medals……..!

    1. Did you have a dinner with Bernie?

      1. There’s definitely some Bernie influence there, isn’t there….

  4. I can’t reconcile in my mind whether I think Grosjean deserved a seat more than Petrov deserved to keep his seat. Grosjean really does deserve a second chance in F1, that’s for sure. I honestly don’t think this means Petrov is finished in F1 either.

    1. And what about Senna… does anyone see him getting a seat in a good team… We are talking about the second time he is out of seat in two years, and I will guess is not speaking well about his future as driver… I´m not one to talk about legacy but I don´t think the last namer is helping him either…

      1. So Kubica is now DEAD. Looks like the writing is on the wall….there is no new talk of his return, at all, other than maybe someday down road. Damaged drivers don’t come back. Such a shame.

        1. Not at all i suspect he’ll go to ferrari in 2013 he may not still have *it* that remains to be seen. Considering how good he was though it would be silly for any team to write him off with out even testing him.

          There was no way no how kubica was ever going back to renault after they signed kimi. They signed kimi because kubica gave them the finger in the first place.

          Sadly for bruno i think this may be it the guys 28 and you wouldn’t say he’s 2 seasons off becoming fernando alonso, not least because he probably wont even be driving next year. I do think it’s a real shame because he hasn’t had a proper run of it, from what ross brawn said after testing him in 2008 he was just as fast as rubens whilst having almost no experience in an f1 car.

          1. Kubica was overrated. Nick beat him in 2007 & 2009.

  5. This is actually excellent news for Lotus. Dumping Petrov means they don’t need his money so much, ergo the financial situation of the team is better than it was last year and two years ago. The only sponsorship coming with Grosjean is renewing the Total deal, so in fact its no new sponsorship.
    On the sports side, I think they made a good choice, though I wouldn’t like to see Petrov or Senna out of F1 for good. Marussia and Williams maybe?

    1. I wouldn’t oversee a Total sponsorship raise though.

      1. Don’t count your chickens. All teams need more money even ferrari and redbull. Eric boullier has been criticised for making foolish decisions already and this could prove to be the next one. Petrov was a solid driver last year he got a podium and points when the car was capable and he came with more money than grosjean. Grosjean is going to have to categorically out perform petrov to vindicate this move.

        Know what? i don’t think that’s possible unless renault have been working on 2012 since may. They were consistantly not even scoreing points towards the end of the season. Going from almost as slow as williams around 15th on the grid to out performing 6 of the top 8 drivers in the top teams to score a podium is going to be a huge if not impossible ask. Ferrari and mercedes look set to have much stronger seasons far ahead of renault on pace the absolute best renault can hope for right now with a season of normal races is 5th in the constructors and the last 3 points from each gp. Maybe a few more if sebastian has another crazy blow out on lap one or mark takes to the skys but still the podium will be locked out. They may even be over taken by force india they finished the season with a much faster car and with a cool 100 mill in the pocket. Sauber to were crazily strong considering the disadvantage they were at with their ebd, with the ebds gone in 2012 they should have a better season as well if they can correctly choose where and how to blow their exhaust gases.

        Short version 2012s gona be tough for renault kimi and grosjean they will probably be on maximum defense from australia all the way to brazil.

  6. Very glad to see Grosjean get a seat. He was excellent in GP2 this year and, as I wrote last year, his brief shot at F1 two years ago was about the most difficult scenario for an inexperienced driver to make their debut you can imagine.

    It’s surprising to see a moneyed driver like Petrov squeezed out with a year left on his contract (apparently he came very close to staying). But really, after two years I don’t think we’ve seen much from him to justify his place.

    That said, from the prominence given to a quote from the senior vice-president for corporate communications at Total in the press release, it looks like Grosjean has found some backing of his own.

    And, of course, who knows what consequences Petrov’s criticism of the team a few weeks ago might have had?

    Whatever else was going on, Petrov out and Grosjean in looks like the right move for Renault to me. Now they’ve got a world champion and a GP2 champion for 2012 – a promising blend of youth, talent and experience.

    Let’s not forget Bruno Senna in all this as well. I’d like to see him find a place somewhere for next year too.

    1. @keithcollantine As disappointed as I am for Petrov, you’re right. I don’t believe Petrov isn’t worthy of no seat whatsoever but yes, perhaps his time at Renault is past its best. Grosjean definitely deserved a seat. There’s no way you could justify giving Pic one without the GP2 winner having a shot.

      A bold move from Renault. No 2011 experience going into 2012.

      1. I too think that Petrov did pretty okay, though not great. But I have to agree @keithcollantine and @andrewtanner, Grosjean now having a seat is very good news, for all the reasons you gave above.

        I wonder if Senna will return to third driver role now as there isn’t much else available; and then Lotus to be will at least have one driver that has driven this years car in races, to be able to compare with the new one, as that seems to be the only slight damper on their future.

        I hope this means they found enough sponsorship to do without Petrov’s money (more from Total, some extra with Kimi?). As I said, I didn’t thjnk Petrov did very bad, but he was still fundamentally a pay driver.

        Grosjean and Raikkonen, another great pairing to look forward to next year!

    2. @keithcollantine Your argument that his first shot at F1 was tainted by a difficult environment is undermined by Grosjean admitting in the embedded video that he wasn’t a good enough driver in 2009. All the arguments you make about his GP2 skill and potential were exactly the same in 2009, the only difference was that at that point he was the GP2 Asia champion, and this year he is the “actual” GP2 champion.

      Let’s recap that season: It was out in the open, even before the season began, that Piquet was going to be ditched mid-season barring some sort of divine intervention, and that Grosjean was going to take his place. Grosjean spent the first half of the year sitting on the pitwall at race weekends, or on the team’s simulator. Yet when the inevitable happened, he was absolutely unprepared. He wasn’t physically fit enough, or mentally strong enough.

      The argument that “at his very best he wasn’t as far off his teammate as Petrov was” covers over the fact that when he wasn’t on his hot lap (which was most of the other laps of the race) he was physically unable to control the car, crashing and spinning in the most ridiculous and unexpected places. Petrov made some howlers, but how long has he been driving single seaters? 3 years, compared to Grosjean’s entire professional life. And unlike Grosjean, he improved over the course of half a year, started to come good at the end, and nabbed a podium in a car that didn’t have a lot of business being there.

      The argument is also made that “Petrov drove the R30 vs. the R29” which indicates that Petrov had more of an opportunity to do well and couldn’t measure up. However, it also means that if Grosjean couldn’t show a decent turn of speed in the R29, then Alonso couldn’t either. If it was down to GRO vs. ALO and PET vs. KUB in R30’s, I think Alonso would have ripped out an even bigger gap than Kubica did.

      You could argue he’s a talented champion replacing an unreliable pay driver. You could also argue he’s the son of a Swiss banker, who has been parachuted into a seat by his manager, who just happens to be the team principal, and is the benefactor of nothing more than nepotism, old money and entitlement by nationality. In F1, he was unreliable and a liability at worst, and mediocre at the very short periods where he was at his very best. I’ve watched Petrov drive badly and think “he can do much better than this”. I’ve never watched Grosjean and thought the same.

      Does he deserve another shot? About as much as Sebastian Bourdais does.

      1. @Hairs The Bourdais comparison is ludicrous. He had a year and a half to prove himself and plenty of testing beforehand. Grosjean arrived at short notice at a team which was in complete turmoil alongside probably the best driver in the sport.

        Why have they replaced Petrov with Grosjean? Because they’re more likely to turn a quick driver who occasionally spins into a driver who doesn’t spin, than turn a slow driver into a quick one.

        1. @keithcollantine My point is, all the pro-Grosjean argument comes along the lines of “look how well he did in other series”. Bourdais is a dominant multiple champion, against tough opposition, and is well respected across single seater, endurance racing, and other disciplines. Yet in F1, he couldn’t get the job done, and he was booted out.

          Do you really believe Grosjean is a better driver than Bourdais? I don’t, and there’s no evidence for it. Is he a “quick driver who occasionally spins”? Alonso managed to get a pole in the R29, was there ever a sign of Grosjean doing that? Petrov actually moved his car *up* the race order with quick driving, which is something I don’t recall Grosjean doing a lot of, either.

          Pirelli wouldn’t even keep him on as a tyre tester when he had no other racing commitments! The one-season Lucas DiGrassi can hold down that responsibility.

          1. @Hairs I don’t think you’re looking at the entire picture, I think you’re just grabbing any stat out of context you think might support your argument.

            Yes, Bourdais was a multiple champion – in the only big team left in a series that was on its knees.

            Yes, Alonso took a pole position in an R29 – but not while Grosjean was his team mate and thanks to running very low on fuel at that race.

            Yes, he didn’t spend long as a Pirelli tester – unlike di Grassi, he was a tester before the 2011 season had begun and Pirelli said they wanted to give the role to multiple drivers at that time to avoid favouritism.

            Having watched both of them in an awful lot of races, most of them not F1, I certainly do think Grosjean is a better prospect than Bourdais.

          2. @keithcollantine But I’m actually responding to the stats you’ve provided to support your argument.

            All I’ve done is provide an alternative interpretation (one which comes to a different conclusion).

            Stat 1: He was closer to Alonso than Petrov was to Kubica.
            Pro (your argument): That means he did a better job, and in worse circumstances.
            Contra (my argument): Rookies can’t get the best out of a car, but experienced drivers can drive to their limit. Alonso couldn’t drive to his limits in the R29, as he repeatedly complained during the year, but Kubica could in the R30, hence the difference.

            Stat 2: The team was in disarray.
            Pro: Grosjean couldn’t be expected to get the car working properly, which explains his poor results. Team was mismanaged, losing staff and sponsors left and right.
            Contra: Petrov had a much steeper learning curve to F1, and was more of a true “rookie” than Grosjean ever was, with more to learn and more to do. Grosjean sat on the sidelines for half a year watching the team and didn’t prepare. Team is still mismanaged, losing staff left and right.

            Stat 3: There’s a difference between a quick driver who spins and a mediocre driver who is at his limits.
            Pro: Grosjean’s previous results prove he’s fast and his problems can be fixed.
            Contra: A quick driver is mentally strong and determined, dragging his car up the field even when he makes mistakes. Petrov was doing that in year one. Grosjean never did in F1, and with decades of experience should have done better.

            Stat 4: Look at his GP2 form.
            Pro: He can win, overtake, and is a champion. He’s got potential.
            Contra: As you pointed out in a twitter conversation with 5Live about Abu Dhabi, overtaking/winning in GP2 with reversed grids, a lower standard of drivers, and equal machinery is a completely different prospect than F1. People who he beat in GP2 are rated more highly than him in the F1 paddock, because they’ve got a different set of skills.

            I don’t think you can accuse me of not looking at “the bigger picture” when I’m actually looking at a picture you’re giving me from another point of view….

          3. Grosjean never did in F1, and with decades of experience should have done better.

            “He caught the motorsport bug relatively late and only started karting professionally aged 14.”
            Pretty sure that 9 years isn’t ‘decades’, unless he lied about his age and is actually in his 40’s.

          4. @matt90 Replace “decades” with “years” then, my mistake. The fact remains that Grosjean had years in the F1 feeder environment learning the way the cars drive, how the teams work, and how the business operates. Petrov, according to all the accounts I’ve read, had never even sat in a kart before switching to single seaters, and as multiple F1 drivers have said, the closest thing to the way an F1 car behaves is a kart. All this puts him at a significant disadvantage to Grosjean, and makes him more of a rookie, as I said, than Romain ever was.

            Even if you assume that Grosjean and Petrov started off at an equal base of “rookieness”, ask yourself this:
            Could you ever see Grosjean having the strength to hold off Alonso in an inferior car for 39 laps, even if it was Abu Dhabi? I think he’d have buckled under the pressure and made a mistake.

          5. @Hairs The only cohesive thing in your “alternative interpretation” seems to be a desire to cast Grosjean in the most negative light possible.

            Nor am I impressed with you twisting words of mine from an unrelated discussion to try to claim I think a GP2 champion of Grosjean’s calibre does not deserve a chance in F1 – he clearly does.

            People who he beat in GP2 are rated more highly than him in the F1 paddock

            Did any of these anonymous alleged paddock-dwellers have names? Or, for that matter, the unnamed drivers they apparently think are better?

          6. @keithcollantine I need to answer these slightly out of order.

            Nor am I impressed with you twisting words of mine from an unrelated discussion to try to claim I think a GP2 champion of Grosjean’s calibre does not deserve a chance in F1 – he clearly does.

            At absolutely no point have I attempted to represent what YOU think. I take serious issue with this. Please point out in the discussion above where I have said anything even vaguely similar to “Keith doesn’t think Grosjean or a GP2 champion deserves a chance in F1”. I have not. Nor, by insinuation or suggestion, have I attempted to give that impression.

            I did not at all twist your words, nor is the discussion of what is possible in a GP2 race vs. an F1 race “unrelated”. As I went into, if we take the argument of “Past performance in GP2 shows he deserves a chance” then we have to look at what performance in GP2 actually means. Does it mean that all GP2 champions are F1 champions in the making? Does it mean that completing an overtake, or winning a race in GP2 is of the same difficulty as F1? Does it mean that the calibre of drivers competing in GP2 is the same as F1? Is running in a spec car series the same as being the driver of an F1 car, with all the additional technical work that entails?

            The reason why I brought the Abu Dhabi discussion into it is very simple, and it was not to “twist your words” at all, it is because I thought you made a very intelligent point. People were thrilled at the overtaking in the GP2 race at the track this year, and put forward the view that maybe it wasn’t all the track’s fault that F1 was boring on it. As you pointed out, there are many and varied reasons why GP2 is a better spectacle, and those don’t necessarily absolve the track of its flaws. For exactly the same reasons, I don’t think the argument “Did well in GP2” is a simple template for “Will do well in/is good enough for F1”, because there are many factors which a driver can lean on in GP2 for success that don’t exist in F1.

            The only cohesive thing in your “alternative interpretation” seems to be a desire to cast Grosjean in the most negative light possible.

            I’m not afraid to say “I don’t think he’s good enough for F1.” in reasonable, or hyperbolic tones depending on the situation – just as you are not afraid to complain about DRS in reasonable, or hyperbolic tones, depending on the situation. That doesn’t mean I’m being mean-spirited, or unfair. All I have done is make a counter argument, based on the same points of data, that you have used. Are any of my points invalid? If so, why? I have taken the trouble to go into the various arguments in support of Grosjean, and explain why I do not find them convincing. Why, in cases where both you and I are speculating about Grosjean’s potential performance either next year or in the R30, are my conclusions biased and unfair, while yours are not? Both are equally unprovable. If not saying something positive means I am guilty of having a desire to “cast Grosjean in the most negative light possible.” then surely anyone who fails to mention anything negative has a desire to “cast Grosjean in the most positive light possible.”? You have yet to actually address most of my conclusions, apart from to dismiss them all as mean spirited.

            Did any of these anonymous alleged paddock-dwellers have names? Or, for that matter, the unnamed drivers they apparently think are better?

            Kamui Kobayashi drew plaudits from team principals after his first race and year in F1, Martin Whitmarsh and Christian Horner to name two, and was given a race seat on talent rather than sponsorship. The same applies to Sergio Perez (possibly minus the sponsorship angle). Kobayashi was sitting alongside Hamilton in the FOTA forum as they were introduced as “the best overtakers in Formula 1”. At no point did Grosjean get that sort of response from anyone after his time in F1. You know this just as well as I do, as we are watching the same coverage and reading the same interviews, yet this comment looks like an attempt to insinuate that I am making things up. If I make a mistake somewhere, I am quite happy to admit it. What you think the benefit of this insinuation is, I don’t know. It does you no favours, nor am I the sort of poster who will back down meekly in the face of it. How far down the road of “stating the obvious” is it necessary to go?

            There are plenty of people arguing that “Grosjean didn’t get a fair shot in F1, he deserves the drive more than Petrov.” I argue “He was gifted a shot in F1 and squandered it by being unprepared and lacking strength, unlike Petrov, Kobayashi or Perez.”

          7. @Hairs


            I don’t mean to bump into this heated discussion, nor to cause any further heat, but I have to say I agree with Hairs point of view. But as DaveW below said, both sides have valid points, and therefore I am willing to give Grosjean the benefit of the doubt and I am very curious to see how he performs. In fact, given the situation, he will have a good chance to show some level of success up until Raikkonen gets up to speed (if he ever does). However, put Grosjean against Petrov and I have to take Petrov’s side.

            To add, reading all the comments I don’t see where Hairs has tried to

            “twisting words of mine from an unrelated discussion”

            . He has a difference in opinion and, I have to say, that opinion is perfectly valid.

            As for the following comment:

            If not saying something positive means I am guilty of having a desire to “cast Grosjean in the most negative light possible.” then surely anyone who fails to mention anything negative has a desire to “cast Grosjean in the most positive light possible.”? You have yet to actually address most of my conclusions, apart from to dismiss them all as mean spirited.


        2. I don’t think Hairs has some ulterior desire, just an occaisional excess of rhretoric.

          Both sides have valid points. However, in my view, Grosjean is likely not in the seat based primarily on talent and potential. At the end of the day, the only factor in favor of Grosjean is that he won the GP2 title. But we have seen that currency deflated since people like Hamilton and Rosberg were in that series. Maybe he has the telemetry traces of a genius, but we’ll never know.

          The idea that he had a tough situation in 2009 is not persuasive. That excuse would bring back a long list of apparently talented has-beens from Scott Speed to Bourdais. It doesn’t falsify anything. Yamamoto could make the same claim. And Hair makes a very importnat point that he was not roused in the middle of the night for a seat-fitting; he had every opportunity to prepare. The recent history of the sport proves that handling a bad car is a sign of excellence and he didn’t show it.

          Judgment for the defendant.

          As team decision, it’s not great. Petrov is not the next Alonso, but wiping out continuity in a team in need of both doesn’t seem very smart. Kimi could do with a driver in the team who knows something about the basic engineering approach, etc. He has a greenhorn next to him as he relearns the sport.

          I don’t expect much from either of the drivers. Kimi will be rusty, Grosjean will be slow/learning, and both will be working for ADD-patient Boullier who will be again on the prowl for a scapegoat if the team makes another bad car.

        3. The best driver in the sport that hamilton trounced in his first year keith?

          1. Trounced by 0 points?

          2. rookie vs double world champion who is considered to be the finest driver on the grid yes trounced by 0 points and 1 place in the drivers championship.

          3. oh sorry i ment double world champion who is considered to be the finest driver on the grid who tryed to force mclaren to use team orders against his team m8. Also tryed to have his team m8s car sabotaged, also black mailed the team and blocked the young rookie in qualy lol need-i-go-on?

      2. I think the point you are overlooking here @hairs, is what Grosjean learnt from not being successfull in F1 at his first shot at it in 2009.

        He was humbled by suddenly not being either fast nor reliable. He fell far down, then impressed in the GT sportscars, convincing DAMS/Gravity to give him a shot at GP2, where he did a couple of races last year. Evidently they saw something they liked and gave him the opportunity to go for the title with a mid grid team and prove he had learnt what it takes to build up to success.

        In my view, that shows he has a real potential to grow with Renault (Lotus) as they climb back towards success (their target, surely). Having an ex-WDC guy next to him will push him to keep that high level up.
        The fact Grosjean is TOTALly commited, just shows, how only the top4 teams do not look for a driver to more or less bring his own budget with him.

        1. @bascb It’s possible he may have, but it’s also possible he has the same faults now that he did then.

          1. Very much true @hairs, I would say we keep an eye on him then and see if he did learn, or not!

    3. Now they’ve got a world champion and a GP2 champion for 2012 – a promising blend of youth, talent and experience.

      Exactly. Happy days for Lotus/Renault then.

      It has to be said that the midfield silly season is better than it has been in a long time; alas, this cannot be said for the top teams. Massa getting the boot/Webber retiring or going to the midfield would make it interesting.

    4. I agree, They finally have found a good combination.
      (Putting aside that I feel for Kubica.)

      I think for Grosjean. This is his big chance to make it in F1. Kimi will be good, but compared to Alonso he is hardly a Goliath. And he will obviously take at least a few races to settle back in.

      I think Grosjean will know that if he beats Kimi. He’s in.

      It’s also nice to see talent beat money. (Unless Grosjean has money.) Then it’s nice to see money attract itself to talent.

      1. Talent beating money?
        2009 GP standings when Grosjean left:
        Hulkenberg: 57
        Grosjean: 45
        Petrov: 41

        Massive gulf in results, there? Petrov got into F1 with borrowed money and some sponsors. Grosjean admitted in the video above he is in thanks to money from Total and the “help” of his management team who also happen to be the owners and the team principal. That doesn’t strike me as a blow against “pay” drivers at all.

        Of the three, only one can argue they’re in F1 because of their talent alone.

        1. And that isn’t Hulkenberg, for now anyway, because by refusing to look for money and trying to rely only on talent he never actually managed to hold onto his seat. None are in F1 for talent alone. One is in because of a mixture of talent and money. The 2 others are not in F1 at all any more, not until Force India and Williams seats are sorted at least.

          And anyway, you’re ignoring the fact that that was 2009, this is now. Regardless of the quality of the field, Grosjean has gone back and proved himself since, but you aren’t considering the possibility that he has grown as a driver, you seem determined that he will only ever be as good as he was in 2009 for the rest of his career.

          1. I base my estimates of how he might perform in f1 next year on coped actually driving one. Why that’s considered less accurate than assumptions based on his driving in gp2, which is an assumption that fell flat on its face last time.

          2. my apologies for the gaps in the post, I’m using a phone and it’s not cooperating

        2. (Unless Grosjean has money.) Then it’s nice to see money attract itself to talent.

          If your going to tell me I’m wrong at least read my whole rant :D

        3. But, in his defence, all drivers have to mention the”money” when they can, that’s part of how they get it in the first place, isn’t it?

    5. Not as hard as ricciardos debut 11 races into the season driving for the joke shop team in a season where drivers as good as webber have only just got the hang of the tyres by the 19th round

    6. I don’t believe Petrov or Senna are worthy of a seat. Both are poor. Both making many mistakes you wouldn’t expect at F1 level.
      Grosjean – time will tell, at this point I’m open minded.

  7. I’m really glad to see this. Grosjean really didn’t get a fair shake at his F1 career the first time around and he’s shown this year in GP2 that he really deserves to be given a proper shot in F1. While Petrov has show some improvement this year, I don’t think he’s really done enough to justify keeping his seat at Renault over someone like Grosjean.

    I was concerned when it was announced that Kimi got a drive that Grosjean would be overlooked in favour of the financial backing that Petrov brings, but I really think this is a positive move from Renault.

    1. But how can you compare the performance of Petrov with the GP2 performance of Grosjean? The skill of Petrov (and Senna & Heidfeld) to put the Renault were it was could easily be higher than the skill Grosjean needed to win GP2. You just can’t know until they compete again in the same car.

      Personaly I would certainly go with Petrov for his expierence, IMHO it will be a huge disadvantage for the team not to have a driver with 2011 Pirreli tyre expierence. For a driver with a podium in 2011 Petrov has been very hard done by in this (just like Heidfeld).

      As Lotus, now they have chosen their race drivers they really need to keep them for a few years to maintain some consistancy. Stop using drivers and then throwing them away at the drop of a hat.

      1. Of course we did see Grosjean in an F1 car @the-last-pope, and while he didn’t challenge Alonso very much, in the circumstances of that being 2xWDC Alonso, the team having crashgate, him having hardly driven the car (any F1 car) before, he did really quite well. Combining that with an outstanding year in GP2, it says that he’s definitely worth another shot.

        1. Yes I agree that Grosjean had no chance in 2009, Really I do not even consider that an issue. My point is that the last time Petrov and Grosjean were competing in the same car (2009 GP2) they were very equally matched, both at times beating Hulkenberg. There is absolutly no proof that Grosjean is a more skilled driver than Petrov. The fact that Grosjean easily won the 2011 GP2 title only shows that the GP2 grid is less skilled/experienced than in 2009.

          1. I think the fact that Grosjean is now given the opportunity to step back up into F1, reflects the fact that Gravity, and Renault, think he learnt from his previous experience and is now a better driver then he was at the time @the-last-pope!

            Petrov was no revelation so far, if indeed he proved himself to be a solid driver and by no means undeserving to be in F1. But the team want more, so they try something new.

            I guess the team had a good offer from Total to support Grosjean and gave Petrov the opportunity to counter that amount. He must have decided not to, as they gave him until today to do so and were able to announce the news before that date.

      2. @the-last-pope Absolutely, there’s no way for me to directly compare the two. (although I’m sure Renault have some data for direct comparison given the limited testing Grosjean did for them). However, my feeling is that Petrov has not done enough to guarantee him a seat and Grosjean has done plenty to warrant being given a fair chance.

        Of course, if Grosjean doesn’t perform adequately having been given a decent chance to prove himself, I’ll be amongst the first people advocating for another promising Rookie to be given his seat.

    2. he’s older than Sebastian Vettel

      1. And? At 25 he’s not exactly over the hill. @Tifoso1989

        1. But he is older then a double world champion and showing no signs of being able to match him even if you gave him the same car. If you thought the qualy difference from seb to mark was shocking this year you have no idea how much bigger the gap could be if grosjean was in that car lol.

          1. and showing no signs of being able to match him even if you gave him the same car.

            I think the reason he isn’t showing those signs at the moment is mainly because he isn’t driving an F1 car now, or at all until after christmas, and hasn’t driven one for 2 years. It is difficult to match a double world champion in pace if you’re on foot…

          2. I don’t think age is a really good criterium there @theBrav3, Vettel is still younger then Hill was when he got his first drive. And just look at Mansell, or Button who only got better with more experience.

            Indeed, Schumacher who is 42 is arguably still a better driver than some of they guys who got to drive this year.

            It just means, that RG will probably not have an F1 career spanning over 2 decades.

          3. @matt90 take a look at the video of him almost killing his team m8 in gp 2 monaco qualy this year. It’s a few comments upwards. For any of the f1 guys it would be a walk in the park getting pole and certainly navigating their way round monaco with out loosing a front wing twice and getting air. D’ambrosio made less mistakes in an f1 car round monaco than any single driver in that whole gp 2 field.

            Bas i agree with you age isn’t the be all and end all. I would be the first to say what a brilliant job schu is doing (as i have many times) at double the age of the average f1 rookie. I think people forget when they watch him drive so brilliantly aggressively that (sorry msc) he is an old man. An old man whose still giving a mid 20’s rosberg a run for his money. I believe that even if people don’t realise it now, in 10 years time he will be even more highly regarded for his 2010 11 and hopefuly 12 and 13 seasons than his original career. However the reason he’s able to do that at 40 is because he’s been doing it since 22 years old same as rubens and to a lesser extent pedro. Who i might add has driven more test laps than many drivers have done race laps in their entire career, he knows how to drive an f1 car i’ll tell you that for free! As for hill drivers were generally older at that time but i think he’s under appreciated. I think damon was one of the finest drivers f1 has seen whilst being at a disadvantage of not having a proper root into f1. Nowadays though It’s a different sport. You get f1 drivers who aren’t legaly allowed to drink in some countrys and in the ever wise words of mikka haikkinen. “To understand the name of the game…. you’ve got to start young.”

            Lewis and grosjean are almost the same age but lewis has had 5 seasons in f1. The confidence of winning the championship and beating a double world champion in his first season. grosjean will never be able to make up that experience deficit, the only way he can ever be a champion is if like damon he was born to do it and i’m not sure he is. As for JB he came into the sport very young, he made mistakes which to be honest were probably made from trying to over drive the car. non the less he was given 9 years to make every mistake in the book and by the age of 29 with the right team be a driving god. By the time grosjean is 29 if he’s still in f1 he will have had half the experience jenson has and lewis will have. Infact he will be in his 5th year which as lewis showed this year even at that point, even if you are one of the most highly regarded drivers. Even after 5 years you can still have a terrible season. He will have to be an otherworldly talent to finish his career and be talked of in the same breath as any of the above.

          4. I don’t understand, that is completely off the point that you were making before and that I replied to.

            But yes, that was a terrible move by Grosjean. And I point you to Vettel just last year taking out his team mate and Button. And Hamilton this year. These are called mistakes.

            And I really don’t understand your age point either.

            By the time grosjean is 29 if he’s still in f1 he will have had half the experience jenson has and lewis will have.

            Why does it matter if he’ll have half the experience Lewis will have? He’ll have as much experience as Hamilton does now, and he’s a 17 times winner. Are you saying he shouldn’t enter the sport just because everybody his age has been racing a few years?

          5. Matt i made the point that he f’d up in a gp 2 car because they’re suposed to be much easyer to handle. If he ended up ontop of his team m8 in a gp2 car whats he gona do in f1? Jump the barriers and kill marshals or spectators? Maybe go for a swim in the harbor.

            “Are you saying he shouldn’t enter the sport just because everybody his age has been racing a few years?”

            I have never said that about any driver ever period. So kindly don’t insinuate such things.

          6. That still has nothing to do with the original point you were making about pace.

            I also don’t understand how him making that error in GP2 automatically means he’ll kill people or drown himself in F1 (something he didn’t do in 09 anyway) just because it’s faster. He was stupidly too close to his team mate and then bad luck put him on top. Lots of similar F1 moves have only lead to broken wings and punctures (Hamilton Massa in Singapore).

            I insinuated it because it wasn’t very clear why his age mattered. And you still haven’t made it clear, so I still can’t see what else you could mean by bringing his age into it.

            Tbh I only really wanted to talk about the original pace point, but you never responded and instead I’ve got drawn into a ridiculous argument where I doubt you’re being serious (and hope not), so unless it returns to that I think I’ll end here.

  8. it’s too bad there aren’t more cars to be driven by the last few years’ new talent.

  9. wow.. that is cruel now @Prisoner Monkeys have to find new team to cheer on


    1. It’s ” @prisoner-monkeys ” :)

    2. Hah – I was thinking the same. In fact, a Kimi and Grosjean (i.e. someone who took Petrov’s seat) line-up might make Lotus the most detested team! Can’t wait for the comments :)

  10. Welcome back, Romain… We never had the chance to see what you could really do in 2009, and now you have your 2nd shot at it. I feel for Bruno though, hope he gets a seat somewhere…

  11. I am just more worried about Sutil :(

    1. I´m sorry, maybe I missed but what happened with Sutil´s legal problems after China? Did they got resolve?

      1. I think they’re on going…

        1. Well, that doesn´t look good for him to be hired for another team..

  12. I think that in terms of drivers 2012 promises to be quite exciting. What will be interesting to see is how Kimi and Grosjean cope with each other. Although due to his experience alone Kimi would be no 1 driver, both would want to impress in their comeback season. This could lead to some good competition in the event both are racing for position. Hoping for good performances from both. :)

    1. kimi won’t even be aware he is there

      1. @colin in fairness if kimis been drinking he’s not likely to notice much including which direction gravity works in.

        Being serious though i’d be surprised if grosjean see’s the back of kimis car once next year much less attempts a pass.

  13. Kinda surprised by this not gonna lie. Really thought they would have kept Petrov at least for next year but hey, this is Formula 1 :D

    Also Keith the picture caption reads “Romain Grosjean, Renault, Abu Dhabi, 2009” When I think it should read 2011 :)

    1. No it shouldn’t. It’s a pic of Grosjean AT Abu Dhabi IN the 2009 F1 Renault. :)

    2. @bobtehblob Fixed, thanks.

  14. Fantastic news, I’m really glad he’s getting a second try. A rare example in the modern period of a team taking a junior driver based on talent rather than sponsorship.

    Now all we need is Hulkenberg to be announced at Force India!

    1. A rare example in the modern period of a team taking a junior driver based on talent rather than sponsorship

      well, RoGro has both now it seems.. some talent and backing from a major oil company, Total
      hoping for a good great year for Lotus Renault GP in 2012

  15. Didn’t expect that, but after a few solid results early on this year, Petrov returned to his inconsistent former self. Petrov was pretty handy on Saturday, but he often fell back down the field on Sunday.

    I have to say, with all of these unexpected and crazy decisions regarding race seats for 2012, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw guys like Heidfeld and Fisichella get a race seat. Hell, maybe Juan Pablo Montoya will bank himself a drive. What a crazy season we’re heading into.

    1. Quite right – wasn’t the 2013 driver market meant to be the one with huge changes, not 2012? I thought we were in for a quiet off-season, but there’s been a lot of “action” already, and definitely more to come.

      Sutil’s future now seems to hinge on Force India’s driver selection, and whether or not Pastor Maldonado’s sponsorship money holds up. The worst-case scenario for Petrov is that Sutil partners Maldonado at Williams – would he take a seat at Virgin/Marussia if that turns out to be the case?

  16. I wonder how much slagging off his own team influenced Petrov’s exit. Well, I’m pleased to hear this news, grosjean deserves it and in my opinion Petrov does not based on this year’s performance.

    1. I actually thought Petrov was pretty good this year; he was more impressive than Heidfeld in my opinion which takes some doing as plenty of top names have struggled against him, the car was rubbish for most of the year and he was more consistent than he was last year. It’s tough to evaluate him when he’s had three different team mates in the past two years but I’ve thought he’s been good particularly after his mature performance in Aus this year when he needed it. I also can’t really criticise his comments about the team when I’m one of those fans who would love it if the drivers were allowed to have a bit more personality and say how they really felt.

      1. @Steph Petrov certainly did step it up this year. Aside from shafting his steering column in Malaysia he’s managed to keep out of the wars quite well…oh and the incident with Schumacher!

        Reagrdless, an improvement. Like you say, it is difficult to evaluate him. Last year was his rookie season. This year he’s had two different team mates and arguably the most disappointing car on the grid.

        I hope he stays around. I enjoy his presence.

      2. I disagree, Petrov was largely inconsistent this year. When the European season started Heidfeld out performed him in the vast majority of the races, as Petrov went backwards from his quali position.

        1. You have a point but I still think he massively improved on last year with consistency and had far less stupid errors plus Petrov usually had the edge in qualifying though even if he couldn’t translate it into results.

  17. I like Romain Grosjean, he never really got a fair chance the last time at Renault – dumped into the 2009 car with little testing, remember how much of a ‘handful’ that car was to say the least – considering Ferraris mid season replacement drivers both struggled with a difficult car, and all the F1 experience they had (Badoer: 1000s of km of Ferrari testing, Fisichella: 1000s of km in F1 tests and races, half a season in a 2009 F1 car) I think it’s right to say Romain Grosjean was unfairly judged after his short first spell in F1.

    He was winning GP2 before he quit for F1 in 2009, he just won GP2 last season, I’m sure he’ll give a good account of himself with a full pre season test programme and a decent car.

    Renault have a good line up for 2012.

  18. ” Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna for their contribution to the team’s performance this year and I wish them all the best for the future.” is that the end of the road for both of them? Boy Lotus Renault are entertaining us in the off season.That means Kubica isn’t racing in 2012 for Lotus Renault. So What will happen to all three of them?? Kubica will get a seat if he can prove that he is fit & motivated, Petrov & Senna both have good cash,Williams need some cash,won’t bet one of them ending their.

    I guess couple of weeks back some words said by Petrov against the team backfired to him.

    1. Or maybe it was the fact that he’s just not a good enough driver.

      Petrov probably already knew he was on the way out at that point hence the outburst.

    2. if Kubica wil return fit & motivated he’ll be racing in Ferrari alongside Fernando Alonso

  19. The thing that worries me the most is not Petrov or Senna’s future. It’s Kubica’s…

    1. why? gro will leave a sit for kub if kubica’s quick enough

      1. it is a rotten deal then, sort of

      2. But Lotus arn’t going to give Kubica a car to test in, Ferrari will. As soon as Kubica sets foot in a Ferrari his 2012 Lotus contract will be void, surely?

        Best situation for Kubica is he impresses and prooves his fitness for Ferrari and Massa has another bad year and tempts Ferrari to replace him mid season for Kubica, if not then certainly for 2013. Then Massa could Possibly go to Lotus when Riakkonnen falls out with Boullier :P

        1. Kubica does not has a contract with any team for 2012 at the moment. His current deal with Lotus expires at the end of the year, so he’s free to go anywhere and do anything.

          1. Kubica does have a contract for 2012 to race for Lotus, thats why he had to inform the team that he wasn’t able to start the season.

            I’m pretty sure he would break the contract if he drove a previous season Ferrari test car. Also why would ferrari offer him a test car without ensuring that he wouldn’t just hop back into a Lotus when he was ready and start beating their cars. Ferrari arn’t a charity, they wouldn’t test Kubica just out of kindness.

          2. Now i’m confused. I read elsewhere he has no 2012 contract. So what happened to the final year of the 2 year contract he signed in 2010? Was it nullified by his inability to race in 2011?

        2. I really doubt Ferrari would gamble on Kubica even with a test. I think they’d wait for another team to pick him up, see how he does and then make an decision. They’ve got Massa, Perez and Bianchi all as possibilities for that seat in the future too and Alonso doesn’t seem keen on losing Massa which isn’t surprising given that he mostly always beats him.

        3. He doesn’t have 2012 contrat. Both Morelli and Boullier confirmed it.

          Friday’s press conference – Brazilian Grand Prix
          Friday, November 25th 2011, 21:41 GMT

          Q. Eric, can you clarify the Robert Kubica situation at the moment, as that seems to be going to and fro?

          EB: The situation is quite clear. We have a contract with Robert until the end of this year, terminating this year.

          As long as Kubica is able of getting back to fitness I’m not worried for him. He will either retire completely or find a team. Healthy Kubica without a drive = unthinkable.

          1. Kubica made a mistake by going to rallying and had a bad accident. Who is their state of mind will give him a drive to prove that he is fit and fast enough. And Kubica will need a decent car to prove this which he will probably never get. I see end of road for Kubica.

            His best chance would be to stick to Lotus and hopefully Grosjean fails miserably and he gets a chance.

  20. Delighted for Grosjean, he really deserves this chance

  21. Totally did not see this coming but great news that the star of GP2 this season will get his deserved shot at F1

    Petrov had one good race in Australia but cant think of anything else aside from cash that he’s done to get a F1 seat can see him popping up at the back of the grid if he can outbid some of the young drivers with cash trying to buy a seat.

    Senna on the other hand had some decent runs especially in qualifying in a poor car but will we see him in F1 again? who knows

    Kubica wow hard to see where he’s going to appear through all this if he is fit enough to make a comeback i guess we’ll have to wait on that one.

    Ok so seats left are Suitil, Hulkenburg and Di Resta going for the Force india and the red bull jr team, probably a young Spanish driver in the HRT then everyone else after the faster williams seat

  22. I’m happy for Grosjean, and interested to see what he can do next year. What I don’t understand is the politics at Renault. Exactly what did the team’s statement of ‘Petrov has until December 10 to decide what he wants to do’ mean? At face value, I would take it to mean that Petrov was weighing up his options, and was apparently no longer interested in driving for Renault.

    With regard to Petrov’s outburst, I did not find it that dramatic (he stated that the team had made too many mistakes, which it had, and that he was contractually not allowed to talk about it, which was not so clever), and after Petrov’s apology, Eric Bouillier said that the matter was closed. How much stock should I put in future statements from team Renault?

    Next year will be slightly strange for me in that I would like both Grosjean and Raikkonen to do well, without having much sympathy for (then) Lotus.

    1. I share some of your ideas about the teams credibility in what they say: I don’t really believe Bouillier or Lopez at face value. In that respect I find them worthy successors of Briatore.

      But then again, what F1 team manager would you trust on their word really, if they see a change to get a very good driver, or good money, or technical advantage?

      Makes me just shake my head at it, and think I don’t like the managers, but I wish the guys in the team, including their new drivers, all the best success for next year.

      1. “But then again, what F1 team manager would you trust on their word really”

        Ross brawn :)

  23. Ok so let’s assess possibilities:

    Renault Lotus – Kimi/Grosjean (Didn’t Kimi want to buy a stake in the team? A problem for Williams, but perhaps a means of ejecting Senna/Petrov out of Renault..?)
    Williams – Maldonado/Sutil (?)
    Force India – di Resta/Hulkenberg
    Marussia – Glock/Petrov (?) (The Russian team, with the Russian driver.. Russian GP!)

    I suspect Bruno will find a test drive with a team looking for his sponsorship.

    I can see Ferrari taking Kubica on (he’s manager claimed he is no longer working with Renault) for this year and letting him drive some old Ferrari’s to get back up to speed, timed perfectly for 2013 – the two pals Fernando/Robert!

    1. I suspect Marussia could find a way to demote Pic and give him Friday drives with a promised drive for 2013?

  24. Ok, that’s a seat.

    Now i hope that KR will shake that lousy LRGP team up, cause their recent lack of form was quite appalling !

    I think he’ll compare favourably against KR.

  25. I think this is the latest in a string of mistakes from Eric Boullier. I’m not saying that because I’m a Petrov fan – looking back on some of Boullier’s decisions, I think a split was the best thing for Vitaly.

    – Neither Kimi Raikkonen nor Romain Grosjean bring sponsors to the team. Raikkonen was also said to be asking for a $12 million salary for 2012. Petrov, on the other hand, had $15 million in sponsors to his name. Boullier has left the team some $30 million out of pocket, nearly a quarter of the team’s 2011 budget.
    – The team has a close association with Dany Bahar, who was perhaps the most-hated man in Formula 1 after the war of words with Tony Fernandes, a legnthy and pointless court case, and the general attitude up and down pit lane. Most people think that Bahar’s plan to sponsor racing teams is only a good idea if his ultimate aim is to send Lotus into receivership.
    – Boullier dropped Nick Heidfeld in the middle of the season in favour of Bruno Senna. In retrospect, this was a mistake because Senna under-performed and Heidfeld could have aided in development of the R31.
    – Speaking of the R31, the car itself was dismal. Renault started the season as the most promising team with two podiums to their name. They finished it with just one point in four races.
    – The team’s internal finances are a mess. Genii bought the team with a host of loans, and the Malaysian government suspended Lotus’ payments to the team because they did not like the way taxpayer funds were being used to pay off a debt to a Lithuanian bank. While we’re on the subject of that Lithuanian bank, its directors have just been arrested on fraud and embezzlement charges.
    – Vitaly Petrov’s contract forbade him from speaking out against the team. I’m willing to bet that Heidfeld and Senna had similar arrangements in place. I can understand a team not wanting their drivers to bad-mouth them at every turn, but most drivers have the ability to call for change if change is necessary. Renault’s drivers weren’t even allowed to do that because of a totalitarian contract.

    I cannot help that feel that Romain Grosjean was promoted to Formula 1 because Kimi Raikkonen is in the team. Eric Boullier manages Grosjean, and with Raikkonen racing, then whoever was paired with him would get a healthy dose of the limelight. I think Boullier’s desire to see a French driver in Formula 1, and to see a French driver get a lot of attention might have been the driving factor behind this decision – to make a “name” out of Grosjean. Ironically enough, Boullier was brought in to replace Flavio Briatore, but this is exactly the kind of thing Briatore did, favouring his own drivers over anyone else.

    1. I think Total have paired up with Grosjean, so there may be a little more money coming in than the last few seasons.

      Also, didn’t Kimi want stake in Williams when they were in talks? Is there not a possibility that Kimi’s management are putting some money in (perhaps through sponsors?)?

      1. Nope. It was ratheran ultimatum on Total’s side. As the team is no longer Renault from 2012, the French oil company made the seat for Grosjean a prerequisite to continue sponsorship beyond 2011. It’s no secret they prefer RB which is de facto Renault works team.

    2. Well @prisoner-monkeys, a lot of what you say rings true to me, the management is a bit erratic, and has been since last year. As I said before, somewhat worthy successors to Briatore, though he clearly did have business acumen enough to never let rumours of interesting dealings get out to the F1 world.

      But I also agree with @ECWDanSelby that perhaps the money aspect isn’t so one-sided as you state, with possibly a higher Total sponsorship thanks to Grosjean, and perhaps money coming to/with Raikkonen.

      I think you have to agree that sporting wise, the new combination of drivers looks like it could be a very strong one, if given the chance.

      I agree that Petrov’s lack of success was for a considerable part this years car not being up to much after that promising start, but fact is, he couldn’t out-race Heidfeld much even though he started well ahead. Senna was better in quali than Heidfeld, and though a bit spotty, still didn’t lag him much in results. As you say, it isn’t very sure Petrov (or Senna, or Heidfeld) would be able to shine in this team.

    3. “Renault’s drivers weren’t even allowed to do that because of a totalitarian contract.”

      Sorry, but its just common sense not to slag off your team.

      Surprise surprise you think this is a mistake, but forgetting about the money for one moment, perhaps you might want to consider that Petrov is just not that good.

      1. @john-h

        Sorry, but its just common sense not to slag off your team.

        You clearly didn’t read the whole post. I admitted that teams don’t like their drivers bad-mouthing them, but they usually have some leeway to call for changes or for the team to re-think their strategies. We’ve seen it plenty of times in the past. The difference here is that Renault forbade their drivers from expressing any dissenting opinion. It was as if they did not want to hear any criticism of the team, no matter how justified it was.

    4. Excellent post about Boullier and the team @prisoner-monkeys. I had high hopes for Eric when he came into the sport but he’s managed to run the team back into the ground in the past year, with no external pressure to do so that I can see.

      I wonder how much the absence of Kubica paid into that? By reputation, he’s a man that likes to spend all day every day talking to the mechanics and engineers, rather than the grid girls. Was there little technical leadership from the drivers, falling onto Eric’s shoulders to analyse their form? He certainly seemed to make a balls of it, losing two high profile, championship winning, well respected engineers, and replacing them with a guy from Arrows, who left after a few months.

      Without some strong and effective team leadership, the team is in danger of freefalling down the grid, like Williams have done under Adam Parr. With Eric, Kimi and Romain in key positions, I think that’s highly likely.

    5. I think Grosjean has proved his talent with his GP2 performances and could be a good decisions but I still agree with your post about Eric PM. Despite the promise of last year they really do seem in a mess in some ways.

    6. @prisoner-monkeys Boullier really winds me up at times. He was incredibly unfair on Heidfeld. How much could you expect from a reserve driver and similarly so, how much could you then expect from Senna, a reserve driver for another reserve driver. No disrespect to Petrov, but their season was over before it started with Kubica being injured. This season should have been damage limitation for them but instead Boullier seemed to think that they could compete with Senna instead of Heidfeld.

      The mind boggles!

      1. @andrewtanner

        their season was over before it started with Kubica being injured

        I initially suspected that the team was banking on Kubica’s swift recovery, and that he could return to racing mid-season. When it became clear that Kubica would not race in 2011, they scaled back development of the R31, and began working on what would have been known a the R32. Now I see that it was just mismanagement by the team, rather than a conscious decision to play the long game the way Ross Brawn did with Honda in 2008.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys There is no doubt an element of truth in what you say regarding their thoughts on Kubica. Wishful thinking and I can’t blame them for that. I do think that ditching Heidfeld was unnecessary. They panicked.

          1. @andrewtanner – My understanding is that Genii borrwed heavily from Vladimir Antonov and Bank Snoras to buy the 75% stake from Renault. Dany Bahar put up money for the sponsorship, but the Malaysian government was not happy that taxpayer money was being used to pay off a bank in Eastern Europe, and suspended the payments. Renault therefore needed an alternate source of income, and picked up a raft of sponsors with Bruno Senna, using his money to pay off the debts.

  26. Also, I just wondered @prisoner-monkeys what your thoughts were on Grosjean?

    You don’t seem to be keen on the way he was bought in for next season, but do you not think he deserves another chance?

    I wasn’t convinced on his first outing in 2009, but after watching some GP2 (even a little Auto GP), the guy’s just gone out there and got better, full stop.


    1. @ecwdanselby – that is perhaps the most difficult question you could ask me. When Grosjean joined Renault in 2009, there was an oppressive atmosphere within the team. Nelson Piquet Jnr. had just been booted, the R29 was a terrible car, and Flavio Briatore was only interested in Alonso; if a driver was struggling within the team, he had to find a solution on his own before he started getting some resources. You really got the sense that the only reason why Briatore ran a second car was because he was obligated to; if he had his way, he would only run Alonso.

      Anyway, Grosjean was certainly qualified for Formula 1 in 2009. But he wasn’t ready for a team that was built so heavily around Alonso. Nobody was. Getting in with Renault was just as difficult as getting into Formula 1, if not more so. It was a real career-killer, and joining the team was a mistake. But whatever the case, if Grosjean was ready then, he is certainly ready now.

      The reason why I’m saying all of this (instead of giving a simple yes or no answer) is because ultimately, I don’t think it matters whether Grosjean is ready or not – I see the team heading down the same path now as it did two years ago. The team has been mismanaged, the finances resemble a tangled skein, the sponsorship is questionable, and it is all headed by a man who, it seems, favours the drivers he manages over all others. Grosjean is already on his second chance, and few drivers ever get that much; one disappinting season could kill his career for good. He may not even get that far, since Boullier has said that he would be willing to give Robert Kubica a mid-season start if Kubica thinks he is up to it. As a young driver trying to break into the sport, Grosjean has to take whatever opportunities present themselves as they present themselves – but I fear he has painted himself into a corner by joining Renault, and no amount of preparedness is going to save him.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys All fair points.

        I think another way of looking at it is similar to Schuey/Rosberg at Mercedes back in 2010 (perhaps without the team stability..).

        If Grosjean can go out and beat his fancied returning World Championship winning team mate, then he’s done a blinding job and suddenly puts himself in a great position.

        But as you say, I think it’s more down to his environment around him and their direction/decisions…

        1. If Grosjean can go out and beat his fancied returning World Championship winning team mate, then he’s done a blinding job and suddenly puts himself in a great position.

          But has he? Raikkonen has been out of the sport for two years. There are a few hurdles that he will have to overcome before he gets up to full speed, chief among them the Pirelli tyres. Michael Schumacher admitted he was still struggling to understand the tyres as recently as the Indian Grand Prix, so it’s not necessarily going to be something Raikkonen masters in a matter of days. GP2, on the other hand, ran on the Pirellis in their races this year. Grosjean already has considerable experience with them. That tips the scales in his favour, but I think it will be lost on most people – they’ll just see a former World Champion against a man with seven race starts to his name. This is why I suspect that Grosjean was promoted because Kimi Raikkonen is his team-mate; it will make Grosjean look better than if he was racing alongside someone like Pastor Maldonado.

      2. Was it a wise move then for Raikkonen to move to swuch a volatile team?

  27. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    9th December 2011, 10:01

    Only 6 from the 24 seats left to be confirmed
    2 at Force India (likely di Resta and Hulkenberg)
    2 at Toro Rosso (maybe Buemi and Alguersuari stay)
    1 at Williams (doubt Barrichello will stay – think Sutil)
    1 at HRT (think Danial Ricardio will continue)

  28. Whoah!! Certainly Renault likes surprising everyone!

  29. And conveniently Kimi doesn’t have to face an experienced team-mate with F1 continuity, and look as foolish as Schumi did last year – wouldn’t want your big investment looking ordinary would we Eric?

    1. I could never see Petrov beating Raikkonen. Rosberg is much much better than Petrov.

      1. I could. Petrov is no slowpoke. If Massa can beat Raikkonen in the same car, Petrov sure as hell could!

        1. Massa isn’t as good as he was when Raikkonen was his team mate. With Petrov, one weekend he is good, the next he’s rubbish.

    2. Perhaps it’s more likely that he will beat Grosjean, but I actually think this has the potential to be embarrassing for Räikkönen.

      If he had been beaten by Petrov, a driver in his third year at the same team, he could have put it down to his two years out of the sport. If he gets beaten by Grosjean, basically a rookie, what is his excuse?

  30. Personally, I think Grosjean is a better driver than both Petrov or Senna, so I’m pleased about this. Although, Petrov has improved a lot and it will be a shame to see him without a drive next season. I believe his chances now come down to a straight fight with Sutil for the other seat at Williams. Petrov edges that for me, better sponsorship and the Renault engine connections.

  31. The announcement leaves Vitaly Petrov, who signed a two-year contract with the team 12 months ago, without a drive.

    Renault apparently told Petrov that the decision on whether he raced for them in 2012 was up to him. If that is the case (and Renault have no reason to lie), then I doubt Petrov would leave the team without some solid plan for 2012 in place. I don’t think he’s being thrown into the wind on this one – he’s already said he’s talking to three other teams.

    1. I think thats quite possible. I’m thinking he is probably part of a backup plan for Williams -who even though confirming Maldonado- are expecting his PDVSA money be prooven illegal.

      There is no one here who would believe that Maldonardo with no sponsorship would stay in favour of Petrov with sponsorship.

    2. I heard that too PM and I hope it’s true because I agree that if he’s turned down the drive then he should have some plan. If it’s not true though then I’ve lost a little love for Renault although that’s probably hypocritical of me given how Ferrari treated Kimi :P Do you have any idea which teams Petrov’s meant to have been talking to? Any info or even rumours would be great thanks :)

    3. I think it’s half-true.
      They must anticipate Kubica’s comeback and want to have a clause in second seat’s driver to fire him in that case.
      And to that Petrov didn’t agree.

    4. “Renault apparently told Petrov that the decision on whether he raced for them in 2012 was up to him.”

      Nonsense! If you’re talking about that interview with his manager from the other week she never once said he was offered a race seat (just talked about him possibly staying with the team).

      You’re living in cloud cuckoo land if you think Petrov is in a position to turn down any offer of a race seat.

      1. I remember reading rhe interview (I think it was linked on one of the round ups) where it said Renault were waiting until the 10th of Dec for Petrov to make a decision on his future. I could well be wrong though as I don’t have the best memory and there’s no need to have a go at PM :)

        1. That’s the one I’m talking about.

          Grosjean was annouced shortly before 6am on December 9. Unless he and Renault were up all night discussing the contract and annouced it as soon as the ink was dry, the timing suggests that the earliest Grosjean signed a contract was on the evening of December 8. Petrov, however, was given until December 10 to make up his mind. If he wanted to stay at Renault, he had an extra two days up his sleeve, and that’s assuming Grosjean signed a contract two minutes after Petrov told the team he was leaving. Allowing for time to negotiate with Grosjean, Petrov could have left a week before the deadline. With just a handful of seats available, I can’t see him consciously deciding to leave Renault without a plan in place – especially considering that Renault gave him the choice and were apparently quite happy to keep him in 2012 if he wanted to stay.

          1. My view on it is, that the team told Petrov how much money he would have to be able to confirm bringing into the team by the 10th of December (probably to counter whatever Total was putting behind Grosjean+ a bit extra).

            So it looks as if Petrov’s management was certain enough that they would not be able to do so, or was reluctant to do so for Renault, taking their backers elsewhere with better chances before the set deadline.
            Probalby because they had relatively better opportunities at other teams.

  32. The big question now is where does Petrov go? Can’t see him at Force India or Toro Rosso. I think he may wind up at HRT, as they probably could do with the money. Perhaps if Williams didn’t sign Maldonado up, Petrov could’ve gone to Williams and take his money there, negating the need for Maldonado. Williams are probably kicking themselves right now.

    Also, what about Senna? As with Petrov, can’t see him at Force India or STR, and can’t see him returning to HRT. I would like to see him at Williams, and perhaps we may see him there if Force India retain Sutil. Personally, I think Senna will stay on at Renault as 3rd driver.

    1. According to Renault that won’t happen – ”

      Team principal Eric Boullier, who has pushed hard for Grosjean to be given another F1 chance, is confident the GP2 Series champion will do a good job next year – as he also wished Petrov and Senna good luck.

      “We were impressed when he drove for us in the first practice sessions in Abu Dhabi and Brazil,” he said. “We are confident that drafting him in to one of our driver’s seats will help us in our rebuilding process. I would like to thank Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna for their contribution to the team’s performance this year and I wish them all the best for the future.”

      It seems they are leaving

  33. i hope Kubica starts testing an f1 car in 2012 and maybe replace Romain towards the end of the season.

  34. Oh goody – the stupid bright red endplates stay. I was really hoping they’d ditch Total for 2012. Please Gerard, at least try and get them to go along with your own colour scheme (a la Red Bull)! I’m not cheering on another car that looks like Total have been sick on it.

    1. I may be in the minority but I actually really like the red end plates @jonchuckle

  35. I think this is à good choice, given they want to have à fresh start. I can only hope for Senna / Hulkenberg / DiResta / Sutil / van der Garde that all will end well. For that, we only need Trulli to leave Lotus (Caterham).

  36. Grosjean deserves a drive no doubt and Petrov has thoroughly underwhelmed me in his two years in the sport so why not give Grosjean the spot. Kimi and Grosjean must be bringing some sponsors, or Kimi’s management team putting in some money as otherwise why would they let Petrov take his large sum of money elsewhere.

    I hope Grosjean gets a decent shot this time, sadly I can’t see Kubica back this year if at all so he should get the season at least. As for Petrov, if one of Di Resta, Hulkenburg or Sutil loses out on a drive because of Vitaly’s money that would be very disappointing but a sign of how the F1 grid currently works.

    It’s a shame Maldonado’s already signed up for Petrov in that regard because Williams already have money, so can pick the strongest driver available for the second spot and that definitely isn’t Petrov. That’s assuming the Venezuelan government deal doesn’t go pear shaped which in all likelihood could happen, in which case Williams should snap Petrov up.

  37. I’m not surprised but it makes me feel a little uneasy about Renault or Lotus or whatever they’re called. I’ve always been a Ferrari fan but I had a mega soft spot for Renault but the way they treated Heidfeld and now ditched Petrov despite the contract really doesn’t sit well with me. I liked Petrov and Senna and thought both had talent. I’d personally have preferred a line up consisting of Senna, Grosjean or Petrov as it would have been a good step for the future of the sport. Congrats to Grosjean though as it would have been really harsh if his career had been defined by 09 when he was chucked in the R29 in awful circumstances when the team was a shambles but he’s definitely proved his talent since then. I bet that Grosjean outqualifies Kimi at the first GP weekend too :P

    1. @Steph I promise you that I didn’t read your comment before posting mine below!

      1. @damonsmedley what’s that saying about great minds? :P

        1. @Steph I’m not sure, but it offends me to have my mind compared to yours! :P

          1. @damonsmedley well, if it’s any consolation I’ve just posted a long comment disagreeing with pretty much everything you say! :P

  38. A slightly surprising decision by Renault – my impression was that Petrov and Senna had done enough to show they were a safe enough number two for Raikkonen in 2012. But a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

    A good move for Grosjean – he’s always been quick but has been a bit reckless and prone to unnecessary incidents in the past. His GP2 season suggests he may be getting over that, in which case he should put in a decent showing alongside Raikkonen – he knows the team and should be reasonably familiar with the 2012 Renault/Lotus from the first race.

    Grosjean didn’t get a fair crack of the F1 whip last time around – he was parachuted into Renault at the last minute, with no testing, in a dire car and in direct comparsion to Alonso. He deserved another chance and now he has one – but he has to perform: there can be no excuses in 2012.

    So where next for Senna and Petrov? There are seats available for 2012 but Force India and Toro Rosso are likely to utilise the drivers they already under contract. What chance of Senna in a Williams-Renault?

  39. I think it’s damage limitation by Renault.
    They couldn’t get Kubica to race from start of the season.
    So they hired Raikkonen and needed second racer to have contract on race-by-race basis (in case Kubica will come back).
    Petrov didn’t agree on that term. So they signed Grosjean who is eager to get into F1 so much that he’s willing to risk to have a partial season seat in order to make good impression.

    I think less and less of Renault. First Heidfeld, now Petrov. Why do we have contracts in this sport?

    PS: BTW, i think Grosjean is excellent racer and deserved his place. So don’t think that i’m hater…

  40. Renault aren’t doing much to endear themselves to the fans, are they? This whole Lotus saga is ultimately down to money and marketing; they don’t want to “restore a classic name to the sport” or whatever it was their press release said.

    I forgave them for the events of Singapore 2008 as I could see they were making an effort to start anew. They started 2010 with two new drivers, a brand new and delightfully good looking livery and new management. I really thought they conducted themselves well and they certainly won me over.

    But they’ve undone all of their hard work this year. First there was the Lotus/Lotus naming feud which was just ridiculous (I still believe Renault bullied Team Lotus when they could have just left it alone), and now there’s the way their drivers have been treated. Kubica had an accident and despite all of the support and the lovely ladies holding those “get well soon” signs for him in Melbourne, it’s looking very likely that even if we see Kubica fit to drive next year, he’s going to be without a seat. Then they ousted Heidfeld and thrusted Bruno into his seat without any preparation (which he handled very well and proved to me that he does have talent), before dropping Petrov despite the fact he supposedly had a contract for another season.

    Bruno, Vitaly, Nick, and Robert are all good drivers and very nice chaps. But the way they’ve been treated throughout 2011 has made me lose any respect I had for Renault. I want to like them, but I can’t, and I think that’s very sad.

    1. I forgave them for the events of Singapore 2008 as I could see they were making an effort to start anew.

      I didn’t have a problem with Renault then. They were found innocent and it was just the 3 fools involved so that’s who I lost respect for. I actually felt very sorry for Renault that their name and team were dragged through the mud like that and thought that when it all came out in 09 they handled it maturely and calmly and it was great that they got the podium at Singapore.

      First there was the Lotus/Lotus naming feud which was just ridiculous (I still believe Renault bullied Team Lotus when they could have just left it alone)

      They’d argue they had every right to and were sticking up for their own cause. I thought both sides were wrong and selfish with that and didn’t think of the sport or the fans but nothing changes there.

      Melbourne, it’s looking very likely that even if we see Kubica fit to drive next year, he’s going to be without a seat

      I think they’re harsh but wise. After Massa’s accident I was sure Ferrari wouldn’t give him the seat back given the injury but they shocked me with how devoted they were. Kubica’s in an even worse situation because he’s been out so long. They should let Kubcia test and then take it from there. The problem was they seemed to make all these grand promises before that he’d be back and now they’re very quiet on the issue which makes them look like they’re ditching him.

      I agree with your point about quick Nick.

      I still like them ish but only because I’m stubborn but I do think they’ve made a big mistake with signing Kimi, how they’ve treated Nick and Petrov and I don’t think much of Eric as a leader given all of that and how badly Renault have done this year.

  41. Grosjean doesn’t have the mental toughness for F1, i don’t see him lasting past 2012.

  42. A-Safieldin (@)
    9th December 2011, 13:51

    Senna would have been the best choice he showed promise, he brought sponsorship (which is sadly an influential factor these days) and honestly he brought another dimension to the team, I always kept on eye on his performance after all he was the heir to the “Senna” name.

  43. I am not too surprised, but I think alot of this is down to Robert Kubica still not being ready to return to the fold. The question we must ask is that if Kubica were race fit and healthy, would Grosjean be driving for the team next year? I think we all know the answer. When Robert is ready though, I put my money on Grosjean being dropped just as quickly as Petrov and Senna have been.
    Grosjean has to prove his worth this year or thats it! He’s lucky to be getting a second bite of the cherry in my opinion, following lacklustre performances in 2009. As I have said, this all appears to be nothing more than a ‘stop gap’ measure for me. Grosjean, if he fails, will be nothing more than a seat warmer. He has to deliver way more than Petrov and Senna have done this year, and that certainly will not be easy even for a GP2 champion.
    Getting Raikkonen was an attention getter. Having Kimi onboard will certainly encourage more sponsors to the team and that is only a good thing. Maybe when Vitaly had is outburst in the press at seasons end, he knew his time was up. That bad choice of words may have even hastened his departure, I suppose we’ll never know. I am waiting for Kubica to return, when he does, then things will get interesting at Lotus.

    1. Long way for Kubica to come back….his days probably are numbered sometime back. almost 2 years out of F1 (if he can come back), severe accident, presently physically weak, could have impact on mental toughness, no testing nowadays, now most likely lack of a strong car to show his worth (lotus is struggling)……..see Massa after the accident, see Michael Schumacher struggle after a gap of 3 years…….He made a mistake in going to rallying and most likely will pay dearly in terms of ruined F1 career.

  44. I knew it!

    1. me too, inside of me…I even hinted the move at the Kimi’s return.

  45. Black Lotus should have retained Petrov.
    That way they’ll have a reference point for Kimi.
    Grosjean has not raced in F1 for a while now, and lets face it. It is very easy for a friday tester to be faster than the normal race drivers because of their short term focus.

    When Black Lotus said they were waiting for Petrov to choose if he will stay or not, I knew his role would be no more than a racing overall model.

    1. But they have a reference point for Kimi: the podium!

  46. I feel sorry for Senna, I think he has proven that he has the talent and potential to be good given the chance. But with the line-up as it is at Lotus (Renault), perhaps he has a chance at Williams.

    Which, I think would be a little strange given that Williams changes its engine supplier to Renault, and correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t the Williams in 1994 powered by a Renault engine also?

  47. Wow! Another surprise! So odd that Petrov won’t be on the grid with this team next year. I can see a contract being broken on the grid to get him and his money in however.

    I wish Grosjean all the best, and it’s going to be very interesting for this team next year. To announce two drivers that are ‘coming back’ to the sport as a line up after a significant time away is unusual.

  48. themagicofspeed (@)
    9th December 2011, 17:25

    My fantasy calendar, would be:

    Ferrari – Alonso/Vettel
    Red Bull – Webber/Massa
    McLaren – Button/Rosberg
    Mercedes – Schumacher/Raikkonen
    Renault – Sutil/Grosjean
    Force India – Di Riesta/Hulkenberg
    Sauber – Kobayashi/Perez
    Toro Rosso – J E Vergne/Buemi
    Williams – Barrichello/B Senna
    Lotus – Kovalainen/Trulli
    Virgin – Algersuari/Alex Rossi
    HRT – couldnt care less.

    You’ll notice some drivers missing..
    Hamilton, Glock, Maldonado are missing, among others.

    As a Ferrari fan, i don’t ever want to see Lewis Hamilton or Timo Glock ever again…or Vitaly Petrov for that matter… not to mention the fact that judging by his attitude to rules and racing equitette, Hamilton belongs in Cadet Karts. Glock and Petrov on the other hand, are just championship wreckers (from my view, as a stubborn and opinionated Ferrari nut). Also, while ever Adrian Newey is still alive and Vettel is at Red Bull, Ferrari will never win anything ever again – solution = get Vettel in a’s a start..

    1. themagicofspeed (@)
      9th December 2011, 17:32

      fantasy grid sorry, not calendar. these are just what i would put on the grid, not necessarily everyone’s opinion of course.

    2. Petrov and Glock didn’t wreck championships and I’m a huge Ferrari fan too. Glock actually gave Massa his best shot by not pitting and what messed Ferrari up was their own bad strategy (and their poor car after Spain and early mistakes in the year)

    3. I think you’ve been quite conservative with your choices here. As a “stubborn and opinionated” Ferrari fan, you could have had something like this:

      Ferrari: Fernando Alonso, You
      Red Bull: Adrian Newey, an actual red bull
      McLaren: Jeremy Clarkson, James May
      Mercedes: Angela Merkel, Joachim Löw
      Renault/Lotus: Nicolas Sarkozy, Michel Roux
      Force India: Sachin Tendulkar, Shilpa Shetty
      Sauber: Sepp Blatter, Felipe Massa
      Toro Rosso: Silvio Berlusconi, Gianfranco Zola
      Williams: Pastor Maldonado, Frank Williams
      Lotus/Caterham: Fairuz Fauzy,
      Virgin/Marussia: Vladimir Putin, Mary of Nazareth
      HRT: Rafael Nadal, Shakira

      With no-one to challenge them, Ferrari could win every time, and wouldn’t that just be great? Perhaps you should go the whole hog and get rid of the other teams completely!

      1. I couldn’t even think of a second driver for Lotus/Caterham.

        1. @estesark – Jarno Trulli would do just fine.

      2. Ferrari: Fernando Alonso, You
        Red Bull: Adrian Newey, an actual red bull
        McLaren: Jeremy Clarkson, James May
        Mercedes: Angela Merkel, Joachim Löw
        Renault/Lotus: Nicolas Sarkozy, Michel Roux
        Force India: Sachin Tendulkar, Shilpa Shetty
        Sauber: Sepp Blatter, Felipe Massa
        Toro Rosso: Silvio Berlusconi, Gianfranco Zola
        Williams: Pastor Maldonado, Frank Williams
        Lotus/Caterham: Fairuz Fauzy,
        Virgin/Marussia: Vladimir Putin, Mary of Nazareth
        HRT: Rafael Nadal, Shakira


        1. themagicofspeed (@)
          10th December 2011, 12:03

          yes, it did make me laugh quite a lot too. COTD at least surely, just for the comedy value?!

    4. perfect topic for a forum – i suggest you copy and paste this on the forum or move it there.

      1. themagicofspeed (@)
        10th December 2011, 12:05

        i will do – i’ll see if there is any other like it in the forum, and if not, make one :)

  49. If Sutil does not get a racing seat for next year…I will not be impressed. I don’t think Grosjean deserves a Lotus seat when there is Glock, Sutil and Kovalainen in slower cars but besides that I cant wait and see what he can do.

  50. I think Grosjean is in a very good place right now. His F1 debut was very difficult, but this time he can definitely surprise.
    Raikkonen has been out of F1 for 2 years. And Schumacher showed us that it can be very hard to jump in a car and perform better than your younger team mate.
    Obviously F1 in 2012 will not be very different compared to 2009, and Grosjean in 2012 will not have the amount of experience that Rosberg had in 2010, so I don’t think that Grosjean will be faster than Raikkonen, as Nico was against Michael.
    But the tyres are different, and Grosjean knows them quite well. We saw this season that some drivers struggled to get used to the Pirellis and if this happens to Kimi, Romain will be in a very good place.

  51. sid_prasher (@)
    9th December 2011, 19:29

    We need a 13th team I think :)…too bad for Senna – I thought he did better than Petrov in the chances he got…

    Fingers crossed for Sutil now…maybe he should stay back at FI and then FI can rotate whoever makes lesser points in every race…

    1. They both have the money between them to practically start they’re own…;) And it should be called Screw You F1 Team.

  52. I cant work this out one bit,This is surely a step back for Renault(now Lotus).

    The worst part of it is that there’s no valid reason behind Petrov being replaced by Grosjean rather than Raikkonen replacing Senna and Petrov still maintaining his seat.

    Other than Petrov’s outburst,which was understandable & honest or obviously MONEY along with Sponsorship.I really feel for Petrov,who’s done little wrong & simply couldnt deliver without a strong package.Life can be really unfair at times but we move on & let go

  53. Grosjean will need to seriously up his performances from 2009 if he wants to stay at Renault! I’m still not convinced he’s a very good driver, and I think the only reason he is there is because of the French connection within the team.

  54. I hope Grosjean turns out to be good. It seems Genii capital asked for results in terms of points, which didnot happen with Petrov, Heidfeld, Senna—-so all are out. Now time for Kimi & Grosjean to perform or likley they will also have same fate next year.

  55. The title of the article should have been “Grosjean re-takes Petrov’s place alongside Raikkonen”. Technically, Petrov took Grosjean’s seat in 2010

  56. well I hope grosjean goes well too, but he,ll probably be out on his ear at the end of the season, anyway why should I care about Boullier and his lot as he/they have taken over from Torro Rosso as my least favourite teams.

    1. What’s wrong with Toro Rosso?

  57. French racing drivers are like buses. You spend forever waiting for one, and then two come at once.

    1. What about Vergne ?
      Wasn’t there the possibility that he went to Torro Rosso ?
      That would mean 3 French drivers…

  58. I’ve been thinking about something else that has come up recently and might have influenced Petrov and Renault: the Russian elections.

    When Petrov entered Formula 1 in 2010, he did so with the backing of the Russian government. Vladimir Putin even test-drove a Renault show car. It was part of his “macho image” campaign designed to show him off as a strong leader for Russia ahead of the upcoming presidential elections. He drove a Formula 1 car, shot a polar bear with a tranquiliser gun, and even invented his own signature move for judo bouts (he is quite possibly the only world leader who can defend himself without the need for a bodyguard).

    Putin was expecting a landslide victory in the elections, but the Russian public didn’t oblige him. Instead, he and his United Russia party have been forced to form a minority government to stay in power. The public have some confidence in him, but not enough to entrust running the entire country to Putin and Putin alone. Because Putin’s power depends wholly on the public, that power – like all political might – is entirely transient. It can change at a moment’s notice. And with Putin’s position weakened, the financial support Vitaly Petrov receives is not as secure as it has been for the past two years. I doubt this would have affected his standing with Renault, but it might influence his value with other teams unless he can find some private backing (of which he already has some).

    Perhaps the best move for him is to join Marussia, because a Russian driver in a (proper) Russian team would attract a lot of Russian sponsors. But it would probably come at the expense of Charles Pic; Timo Glock’s contract allows him to leave if he receives an offer from a top-four team, but Marussia are unlikely to give him up. If Marussia wanted Petrov, they’d have to find a way out of Pic’s contract.

    1. Not only Putin’s party got majority of the seats (at least for now, courts pending), but there wasn’t presidential elections yet. And there he will win by landslide. Results of parliament elections was predicted.

      I don’t see how our elections could influenced Petrov’s contract.

      1. themagicofspeed (@)
        10th December 2011, 12:17

        It would make better commercial sense to ditch Pic (who is he anyway?), and have:

        -2 drivers with 2011 experience
        (1 driver with a lot of experience and a GP2 championship under him (Glock)
        -1 Russian driver who is reasonably quick, can bring sponsorship with him and attract more sponsors from Russia, and be an ambassador for motorsport in Russia (Petrov).

        Surely it’s a no-brainer for a struggling team like Marussia?

        If i’d been in a position to decide the drivers for 2012, i would have kept the 2nd seat open until Petrov’s future was decided, and then snapped him up when he lost his Renault seat.

        It’s too risky giving a race seat to a GP2 driver with very little F1 experience, in a team that needs strong drivers with sponsorship potential – which is exatctly what Petrov could provide.

        1. “It would make better commercial sense to ditch Pic (who is he anyway?),”

          And you are ?

          1. themagicofspeed (@)
            10th December 2011, 12:57

            No, im not saying im anyone special – i just dont know who he is – i assume hes a GP2 import?

      2. Yeah, I bet Putin will now be very carefully planning to make sure he does win by a landslide @mr-prayer!

        He did “win” the elections now, even though he very probalby did not have enough real votes to do so in these election, but a bit of election rigging did the trick there ;-)

    2. I’ve been thinking about something else that has come up recently and might have influenced Petrov and Renault: the Russian elections.

      I suppose decision to prefer Grosjean’s money over Petrov’s money was more commercially driven. Those Lada stickers on Lotus cars looked ridiculous taking into account widely different marketing niches of those manufacturers.
      May be there is some connection with deteriorating situation in Russia. But I doubt considerations of that sort could play decisive role in this case. Anyway Petrov’s position looked stronger than Maldonado’s for that matter. He wasn’t sponsored through 100% -government owned enterprises (like PDVSA). Government support for him isn’t popular in Russia but it didn’t cause anything even remotely approaching public outrage either (at least I didn’t hear of any opposition politicians in Russia trying to turn it into politically sensitive problem like in Venezuela).
      But I bet political considerations can return Petrov or some other Russian driver on the grid in 2013/2014 (to Marussia specifically). Russian government is heavily committed to the success of regional development programs in Southern Russia (Winter Olympics and Sochi grand prix in particular). Russian driver in Russian team on the grid of first ever Russian grand prix – sounds like a great selling point for Fomenko if he is interested in extracting some support for his team from Russian government.
      But I’m afraid for now that’s the end of it for Petrov in F1. Kosachenko has already spoken to Russian sites about some “new program for Petrov to be announced” and extended her gratitude to everyone who supported them during these two years. Presumably they are bowing out from F1 to move into some other category.

  59. Timo Glock’s contract allows him to leave if he receives an offer from a top-four team, but Marussia are unlikely to give him up.

    That’s some contract. Anyway, why would Marussia unlikely to give him up? Glock has 4 years in F1, Petrov has 2. Glock is paid to drive while Petrov is bringing the money in.

    To me, the choice is clear: dump Glock hire Petrov and use Petrov’s money to develop the car. If the next year’s car is slow then Glock won’t make much of a difference (as he’s proved it in the last two years).

  60. themagicofspeed (@)
    10th December 2011, 12:09

    I think it would be brilliant sense, to ditch Alguersuari and have Vergne and Buemi in Toro Rosso. Vergne impressed in the YDT at Abu Dhabi – his best time would have been good enough for 5th place on the grid, so he’s got pace – and although a bit of a live wire, fundamentally Buemi is a good racer – he has made more overtakes this year than anyone else, if i remember correctly. Alguersuari hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since his debut – neither though has Buemi so that’s a hard choice to make.

    1. STR should stick with their current drivers. Vergne’s time in the YDT were irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. Ricciardo last year set a time that was 1.3 seconds than Vettel’s pole time! And look where he’s ended up. The jury is still out about his ability.

  61. on ceefax tonight lotus say they hope to win the title in 3 years, Boullier – WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON, who is going to believe this clap trap,

  62. John Eraser in Formula one. Please take him.

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